ETHER is second largest cryptocurrency (by market capitalisation) and the native token of the ETHEREUM platform - a decentralised, open-source blockchain with smart contract functionality. Ethereum uses blockchain technology to not only maintaining a decentralised payment network and associated coin but also for storing and verifying code used to power contracts and applications.
This year (2022), Ethereum is moving from the Proof of Work (PoW) to a Proof-of-Stake protocol as part of its upgrade. PoW is what is known as mining crypto; networks use a high amount of computational power to run the algorithms that verify transactions. In Proof of Stake, each node on the network stakes their Ethereum to validate transactions and create new blocks on the network.
This change will make Ethereum more scalable, secure and sustainable. Furtherm while Bitcoin was developed as an alternative currency - a medium of exchange and store of value - Ethereum was founded to facilitate and monetise the operation of the smart contract and dApp platform.
The platform is building a huge digital economy and its potential is wide ranging. Many other tokens use the network for their processes, and applications hosted on the programmable blockchain include as DeFi, dApps, NFTs and gaming.